• Lawmakers may end tax break on jet fuel, to Delta's dismay

    Updated: Sat, Feb 28, 2015

    ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia lawmakers may eliminate a tax break for airlines buying jet fuel at the world's busiest airport, setting up a face-off with one of the state's largest employers, Atlanta-based Delta Airlines. The latest version of the bill from Republican Rep. Earl Ehrhart would remove the break for all airlines, updating his original proposal to end only Delta's. State officials estimate the exemption is worth about $23 million, and supporters of the bill said that money could be used for aviation-related upgrades throughout the state. But the proposal also has become a political flashpoint. From the House floor early this session, Ehrhart accused one of Delta's lobbyists of threatening members who had signed on. The

  • Lawmakers may end tax break on jet fuel, to Delta's dismay

    Updated: Sat, Feb 28, 2015

    ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia lawmakers may eliminate a tax break for all airlines buying jet fuel at the world's busiest airport. A bill filed in the House would cut the exemption at Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson Airport. Supportive lawmakers say it would help the state get federal money for aviation improvements throughout the state. They also argue the credit shouldn't be kept in place forever. A committee could soon approve the bill. Representatives for Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines say it's a tax increase that could hurt the airport's competitiveness. Lawmakers created the exemption in 2005 as Delta was facing bankruptcy and have extended it several times before making it permanent in 2012.

  • Berkshire Hathaway's 4Q profit declines 17 percent

    Updated: Sat, Feb 28, 2015

    OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said Saturday that its fourth quarter profit slid 17 percent because of declines in the paper value of its investments and derivative contracts. Berkshire's quarterly profit declined to $4.16 billion, or $2,529 per Class A share, on $48.3 billion in revenue. That's down from $4.99 billion, or $3.035 per share, on $47 billion in revenue. The biggest factor was investment and derivative gains of $192 million this quarter compared to $1.2 billion in 2013. Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett has said that Berkshire's operating earnings, which exclude investments and derivatives, are a better measure of its performance. Those were $3.96 billion, or $2,412 per share, which is up from $

  • Dallas-area ice forces cancellation of nearly 1,000 flights

    Updated: Sat, Feb 28, 2015

    DALLAS (AP) — Freezing rain that coated parts of Texas and Oklahoma for the second consecutive day left highways slick and forced the cancellation of another 1,000 flights Saturday at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, one of the nation's biggest airline hubs. The Saturday chaos was on top of about 600 flights nixed Friday, forcing about 5,000 travelers to spend the night at the airport, spokesman David Magana said. The airport provided cots, blankets and toiletries to the passengers, plus kept concession stands open overnight, Magana said. One American Airlines flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Oklahoma City that typically takes less than an hour ended up being a nine-hour journey for some passengers, the airline said

  • Kansas lawmakers pass raft of bills before deadline

    Updated: Sat, Feb 28, 2015

    TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators have reached the midpoint of their annual session having advanced measures on gun rights and teacher union collective bargaining but having left others to languish, including ones that would legalize medical marijuana, expand the Medicaid program and limit fracking. In order to survive beyond Friday's "turnaround" deadline, most bills had to have been approved by the chamber in which they originated. House Speaker Ray Merrick, a Stilwell Republican, said in a statement Thursday that he was pleased the House managed to pass 35 bills over the three-day period leading up to the deadline.

  • Crop herbicides play a role in shrinking monarch population

    Updated: Sat, Feb 28, 2015

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A butterfly being considered for federal protection is emblematic of the plight that pollinating insects face in part because farmers, enticed by ethanol mandates, are growing more herbicide-resistant crops, which has stripped millions of acres of crucial plant habitat. Herbicide makers say they're committed to helping the black-and-orange insects, whose numbers have plummeted by more than 90 percent in the past two decades. And environmentalists seeking protection for monarchs under the Endangered Species Act said restoring milkweed habitat would help other pollinating insects, too, such as honey bees, whose numbers of managed colonies have dropped by more than 4 million beehives since 1947.

  • Added tax season hassle for some due to health form errors

    Updated: Sat, Feb 28, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — It's not uncommon to feel some trepidation around tax-filing season. But there's an added hassle this year for nearly a million consumers who got financial help with health insurance premiums under President Barack Obama's law. The government sent consumers erroneous information on forms that they need to complete their 2014 tax returns. Now these people are getting robocalls and emails advising them to delay filing until the mistakes are fixed. Some are taking it in stride. Others wonder what else could go wrong. "It's been a comedy of errors from the start," said K.C. Crafts, a freelance financial writer from South Berwick, Maine.

  • Dominion has strong 2015 legislative session

    Updated: Sat, Feb 28, 2015

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia's 2015 legislative session was a good one for energy giant Dominion Resources Inc., the state's most politically influential company. Legislation it wanted passed, passed. Bills it didn't like did not. Employing a small army of lobbyists with deep ties to lawmakers in both parties, Dominion dominated debate in number of different areas this session— from property rights to climate change — and guided through significant changes to the state's electric regulation policy whose long-term impacts aren't clear. "Admittedly I'd say they did have a good year, but time will tell," said Republican Del.

  • Hyundai recalls 263,000 cars due to power-steering problem

    Updated: Sat, Feb 28, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — Hyundai is recalling about 263,000 cars in the U.S. and Canada because a sensor problem could cause drivers to lose power-assisted steering. The company has not reported any injuries or accidents. A representative for Hyundai Motor America wasn't immediately available for comment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says a sensor in the affected cars could detect a discrepancy in the steering input and signals and disable power-assisted steering as a result. Cars would revert to manual steering and require greater effort to steer at low speeds, raising the risk of a crash. The affected cars include model years 2008 to 2010 of Elantras and Elantra Touring vehicles made between Nov. 1, 200

  • AAA Mid-Atlantic: New Jersey gas prices still rising

    Updated: Sat, Feb 28, 2015

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Motorists are seeing sharply higher prices at the pumps in New Jersey. AAA Mid-Atlantic says the average price of a gallon of regular gas in the state on Friday was $2.19, up 8 cents from last week. But that's still much lower than the price from a year ago, when motorists were paying $3.37. This marks the fourth straight week that prices have risen in New Jersey, following several weeks of sharp price declines. The national average price on Friday was $2.37, up 9 cents from last week. But that's still much lower than the national average from a year ago, when motorists were paying $3.44.

  • Basin Electric wants to expand Williston-area power station

    Updated: Sat, Feb 28, 2015

    WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Basin Electric Power Cooperative wants to expand the capacity of its 135-megawatt Pioneer Generating Station about 15 miles northwest of Williston. The state Public Service Commission is holding a public hearing in Williston on Monday on the $161 million proposal, for people to express concerns or support for the project and ask questions. Basin wants to construct up to 12 gas engines that would run on natural gas supplied to the site by an existing pipeline. The project would have the capability of generating up to 111 megawatts of electricity. The new engines would be constructed adjacent to three existing turbines at the site.

  • W.Va. sign maker gets utility patent for installation system

    Updated: Sat, Feb 28, 2015

    HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — Tony Wheeler, owner and president of Paris Signs, has been awarded a utility patent for a modular power delivery system he said could change the way electric sign letters are installed. "The system is the only one of its kind and is approved by Underwriters Laboratory and the National Electric Code," Wheeler said. "The innovative feature is that it allows anyone to install electric channel letters without an electrical license." Channel letters are custom-made metal or plastic letters that are commonly used on the buildings of business, churches and other organizations for exterior signs.

  • Environmentalists rally in support of Cape Wind

    Updated: Sat, Feb 28, 2015

    BOSTON (AP) — Environmentalists are rallying on Boston Common this weekend to call on National Grid to reinstate its contract to buy half the power from the proposed Cape Wind offshore wind farm. Organizers of the Saturday rally say they are hoping to attract several hundred people. The activists also plan on planting 130 oversized pinwheels in the snow to symbolize the 130 turbines of Cape Wind proposed for Nantucket Sound. National Grid and Eversource in January terminated their contracts to buy some of the power that would be generated by the proposed $2.5 billion wind farm, a move that opponents and some supports of the project say essentially killed the proposal.

  • Upstate New York towns consider seceding to Pennsylvania

    Updated: Sat, Feb 28, 2015

    CONKLIN, N.Y. (AP) — Some towns in New York's Southern Tier are raising the idea of seceding to Pennsylvania. Conklin Supervisor Jim Finch and other local officials talking about redrawing the Keystone State's border don't really expect it to happen. But members of the Upstate New York Towns Association hope the idea will result in something good for a struggling part of the state. New York's Southern Tier sits atop the same gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation that has allowed Pennsylvania and other states to ride the fracking boom. In December, the Cuomo administration said it planned to ban hydraulic fracturing based on potential health risks from the drilling practice and overstated economic benefits.

  • FairPoint more attractive to buyers with new labor pact

    Updated: Sat, Feb 28, 2015

    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Wall Street analyst says FairPoint shareholders are pressing for a sale of the company now that it has negotiated a new labor pact with workers in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Barry Sine from New York-based brokerage Drexel Hamilton says "shareholders are beating the drums." Union workers said during the four-month strike that North Carolina-based FairPoint was positioning itself to be sold. But the company disputes that, saying it's focused on trying to become profitable. More than 1,700 workers began returning to their jobs last week after ratifying a tentative agreement reached during negotiations overseen by federal mediators.

  • Cruz tells anti-tax group 'No' to Common Core in schools

    Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    PALM BEACH, Florida (AP) — Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas told an influential anti-tax group Friday that he opposes Common Core education standards, a day after potential GOP presidential rival Jeb Bush endorsed the program. Cruz described Common Core as "national standards being dictated from Washington" during an appearance at the Club for Growth's annual winter meeting. "There is no remedy when they are dictating what's being taught to your kids," said Cruz, a first-term senator weighing a 2016 presidential campaign. His comments stood in stark contrast to those from Bush, who told the same group that the education goals would help more students be prepared for college or better jobs.

  • House Roll Call: Approving 1-week DHS funding bill

    Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    The 357-60 roll call Friday by which the House approved a bill to fund the Homeland Security Department for one week. The bill goes to President Barack Obama for his signature. A "yes" vote is a vote to pass the bill. Voting yes were 174 Democrats and 183 Republicans. Voting no were 5 Democrats and 55 Republicans. X denotes those not voting. There are 2 vacancies in the 435-member House. ALABAMA Democrats — Sewell, Y. Republicans — Aderholt, X; Brooks, N; Byrne, Y; Palmer, N; Roby, Y; Rogers, Y. ALASKA Republicans — Young, Y. ARIZONA Democrats — Gallego, Y; Grijalva, N; Kirkpatrick, Y; Sinema, Y. Republicans — Franks, N; Gosar, N; McSally, Y; Salmon,

  • Pence: 'Dramatically increase' defense spending

    Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says America will not be safe unless its leaders dramatically increase defense spending. The Republican state executive, who is considering a 2016 presidential bid, told conservatives Friday night that no defense strategy will protect the nation unless federal leaders rebuild the U.S. military. Pence is among several Republican White House prospects to appear at the Conservative Political Action Conference in suburban Washington. The former congressman says it's "imperative that conservatives again embrace America's role as leader of the free world and the arsenal of democracy." He says that means that defense spending must be "dramatically increased.

  • Some California farmers to go without federal water

    Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The federal government said Friday it won't send any of its reservoir water to the Central Valley for the second straight year, forcing farmers in California's agricultural heartland to again scramble for other sources or leave fields unplanted. Many farmers had been bracing for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's announcement as California's drought enters its fourth year. Some farms are exempt from complete cuts under California's antiquated water rights system dating to Gold Rush-era days. But many farmers are running out of short-term options to deal with water shortages, such as uprooting orchards and tapping groundwater wells.

  • Senate starts moving transportation bills

    Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Senate started moving some pieces of a state transportation package off the chamber floor Friday, including a measure that would exempt all state highway projects from the state sales tax and would redirect sales tax money from non-highway transportation projects away from the state general fund. However, an effort to bring an incremental gas tax increase to the floor was put on hold after Democrats questioned whether it would require a two-thirds vote of the Senate before it could advance to the chamber floor for a final vote under a new Senate rule that requires higher thresholds for bills on new taxes. The chamber passed the sales tax measure on a 26-23 vote.




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